New York, NY. Monday, October 3, 2011—Today, award-winning journalist Amy Goodman announced that a final settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit brought by Goodman and Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar against the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the U.S. Secret Service, challenging the policies and conduct of law enforcement at the 2008 Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities.
Goodman and her colleagues were unlawfully arrested and subject to excessive force while reporting on public protest and political dissent surrounding the Convention.
“When journalists are arrested, it is not only a violation of the freedom the press, but of the public’s right to know,” said Ms. Goodman. “When journalists are handcuffed and abused, so is democracy. We should not have to get a record when we put things on the record.”
… the federal lawsuit asserted that the government cannot, in the name of security, limit the flow of information by intimidating and arresting journalists who engaged in constitutionally protected reporting on speech protected by the First Amendment such as dissent or law enforcement activities.
…Ms. Salazar was filming a demonstration outside the Republican National Convention when riot police cornered her, forced her violently to the ground, bloodying her face, handcuffed her and disabled her camera, all while ignoring her protests that she was a member of the press. Mr. Kouddous, who was also covering the protests, tried to come to Ms. Salazar’s aid by explaining to the police she and he were journalists; the police slammed him against the wall and repeatedly kicked him in the chest. Ms. Goodman, upon hearing that her colleagues were arrested, rushed to the scene from the convention floor and asked to speak with a supervising police officer. Without any lawful basis, police pulled Ms. Goodman over a police line and arrested her. All three journalists were detained for several hours. Mr. Kouddous was again unlawfully arrested three days later along with a large group of journalists. All charges against the journalists were later dropped. Videos of the violent arrests are available on CCR’s legal case page. Video of their arrests is also available at www.democracynow.org.